Just when you think you have heard it all:
I just got finished reading a editorial about a 13-year old school girl, Savana, who got strip searched after another girl, named Marissa, claimed she had gotten a few 400-milligram ibuprofen pills and one non-prescription naproxen tablet from her.
The editorial’s author, Jacob Sullum, is absolutely right! There are definitely two kinds of people in the world: liberal lunatics who think it’s perfectly acceptable to strip search a 13-year-old girl suspected of bringing ibuprofen to school, and conservatives … the kind of people who think those other people should be kept as far away from children as possible.
The first group … the liberal lunatics … does include officials at Safford Middle School in Safford, Ariz., who forced eighth-grader Savana Redding to prove she wasn’t concealing Advil in her cleavage or in her crotch, and the two judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit (that same loony, terrorist friendly district in California), who ruled that the strip search did not violate Savana’s Fourth Amendment rights, and …. anyone else who thinks this is acceptable behavior for school staff.
In October 2003, Vice Principal Kerry Wilson, acting on a tip, found a few 400-milligram ibuprofen pills (each equivalent to two over-the-counter tablets) and one nonprescription naproxen tablet in the pockets of a student named Marissa, who claimed Savana was her source.
Savana, an honors student with no history of disciplinary trouble or drug problems, denied knowing anything about the pills and agreed to a search of her backpack, which turned up nothing incriminating. Vice Principal Wilson, as yet undaunted, instructed a female secretary to strip search Savana under the school nurse’s supervision, without even bothering to contact the girl’s mother.
According to Sullum, the secretary had Savana remove all her clothing except her underwear. Savana was then told her to “pull her bra out and to the side and shake it, exposing her breasts,” and then to “pull her underwear out at the crotch and shake it, exposing her pelvic area.” It would seem that Jacob Sullum is right when he states that it is sometimes very hard to tell the difference between “drug warriors and child molesters.”
Savana said in an affidavit, “I was embarrassed and scared … but felt I would be in more trouble if I did not do what they asked. I held my head down so they could not see I was about to cry.” She stated it was the most humiliating experience she had ever had. The principal, Robert Beeman, said, “he did not think the strip search was a big deal because they did not find anything.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that a public school official’s search of a student is constitutional if it is “justified at its inception” and “reasonably related in scope to the circumstances which justified the interference in the first place.”
This search was neither.
When Vice Principal Wilson ordered the search, the only evidence he had that Savana had violated any school policy was the uncorroborated accusation by Marissa … a girl who was already in trouble herself and looking to shift the blame.
Savana was so closely supervised after Wilson approached her, that she did not have any opportunity to get rid of any contraband she might have had stashed in her crotch or her cleavage.
According to the editorial, a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union (and … I simply can’t believe I am agreeing with the ACLU) stated that, “There was no reason to suspect that a 13-year-old honor-roll student with a clean disciplinary record had adopted drug-smuggling practices associated with international narcotrafficking, or to suppose that other middle-school students would willingly consume ibuprofen that was stored in another student’s crotch.”
The invasiveness of the search should also be weighed carefully against the evil it was aimed at preventing. “After all, the school district’s lawyer recently told ABC News by way of justification, “this was prescription-strength ibuprofen.”
I can only shake my head in total disbelief!
There is no way a strip search of a 13-year-old could be considered reasonable in scope when searching for Ibuprofen! While it is true that carrying and passing out prescription drugs in school is wrong and the search of the backpack was perhaps in order, was it necessary to strip search her? How about searching her locker first … or calling her parents … or calling the cops? Any of these alternatives would have been more reasonable in scope and likely much more productive in obtaining any illegal drugs and/or reprimanding the offending student.
I feel this action was clearly outside the bounds of the U.S. Constitution and … even further outside the bounds of common sense and decency. If a search is so important that it is deemed necessary to expose the most private parts of a student’s body … then it is important enough to get the police involved. Even if the lunatic progressive, left-wing, terrorist-friendly radical 9th Circuit Court did somehow find that the school administrator’s conduct was legal in this case … that does not mean it was ethical! Nor does it mean it was the best available action in response to the incident.